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Parish History Notes 7: The Contact Layer

As we mentioned in Note #6, the 1997 archaeological excavation uncovered a layer of brick dust from the construction of Fork Church. This brick dust sealed a thin brown loam layer with some interesting artifacts. A small, excavated area of “Layer F” produced over 30 quartz flakes, sometimes called “debitage,” that were byproducts of the manufacture of Indian arrow points and other tools. 

Sealed in the same layer was a Spanish silver coin, a ½-real, minted in Mexico City during the reign of Charles II. Charles ruled over Spain from 1661 to 1700, and it would not be unusual for Spanish coinage to be recognized as legal tender in the colonies.  The 8-real Spanish dollar became the famous “pieces of eight” in the eighteenth century.

Layer F, then, defined the “contact period,” when European settlers and Native American Indians lived in close proximity of time and/or space.

As soon as all artifacts are photographed and studied, they will be boxed and presented to the vestry of Fork Church for permanent storage or display.